How to Start the Conversation
Talking about moving to an assisted living community can be a very sensitive issue. Finding the right time and the right place to discuss the change is so delicate and thoughtfulness is required. Know that it may not be well-received the first time. Finding that right time to be willing to reintroduce it, and then bringing it back up is critical. Of course, in a crisis, there sometimes is no option if something needs to be done.
Other Topics to Discuss
Are there healthcare providers involved? A physician, nurse practitioner or social worker that your loved one has been seeing for a while who could put in a positive word? The person who needs to move to senior housing frequently acknowledges that the medical professional involved in their care is an authority and their involvement can be quite helpful. Consider enlisting the help of the medical team involved in your loved one’s care.
Once they agree that it is time to think about this and time to start looking, you need to help explore what they are looking for and what they need. Listen to their needs and help them feel free to express what’s important to them. Perhaps they really want someone to take care of all their medications or all their transportation needs or hair appointments.
Here are some questions to ask that will help determine the type of community that will best fit your loved one’s needs.
- Would they prefer a smaller or bigger place?
- What kind of amenities are they looking for?
- What is really truly important to them? Maybe it’s the dining program. Maybe it’s the lifestyle or activities programs. Maybe health is the primary concern, both for them and for you.
- Are they looking for a place where they can meet others and socialize in programs, or are they more of an inwardly focused individual who prefers more quiet time or alone time?
- What are the attributes of the kind of living environment they are looking for? (For example, garden space, sunroom, whirlpool bathtub, private bathroom, ample closet space, etc.)
- What type of staff do they expect to be available to them?
- What kind of assistance is needed with medications?
- What do they really want out of their living environment as related to their care needs?